Love Is in the Air: The Valentines Day Fintech News Round Up

This Valentines Day we take a look at some of the top stories in fintech all around love and romance., including how Romance fraud scams have doubled in the past year and Terra Virtua launch new Valentine-themed NFTs

Gen Z plans to spend more on luxury items this Valentine’s Day than other generations

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valentines dayAlliance Data Systems Corporation, a provider of tech-forward payment and lending solutions, released findings from its Valentine’s Day study shedding light on how shoppers across the country plan to spend their money this holiday.

The study found that nearly two in five (39%) of Gen Z consumers plan to purchase luxury goods – more than any other age group. The results also show that consumers are ready to spend on their loved ones, with 67% planning to purchase a gift for their significant other (up 14% over 2021) and 27% expect to spend more on Valentine’s Day gifts this year than last year.

According to the study, two-thirds of Gen Z and Millennials say they have not been able to purchase an expensive Valentine’s Day gift in the past because they didn’t have the money upfront. These younger consumers said they would, however, spend more if offered a buy now, pay later option at checkout (38%), or if they received a special discount for using their credit card (29%).

“Our Valentine’s Day study shows that consumers have a positive, revitalised attitude toward spending and gifting – but brands may be leaving sales on the table,” said Val Greer, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer, Alliance Data. “As consumers increasingly look for more seamless payment experiences, merchants should look to incorporate a wider portfolio of payment options, such as buy now pay later, to modernise alongside customer expectations and capture a wider pool of shoppers this Valentine’s Day.”

People lost $600 million to romance scams in 2020

According to Surfshark, confidence and romantic scams have caused the most financial damage to internet users in recent years. In 2020 alone, they cost people over $600 million, and since 2015 resulted in losses over US$2 billion.

Romance scams are a form of phishing, often referred to as “Honey Traps”. While this scam is often associated with specific services’ activities, where the simulation of romantic or sexual interest is used to extort important information from the victim, it is also very often used as a tactic to extort money.

“These attacks usually target people who are psychologically weaker or going through a more emotionally difficult period in their lives, and can therefore result in the embezzlement of extremely large sums of money at a time,” says Surfshark Chief Information Security Officer at Surfshark.

Terra Virtua Create Valentines NFTs with Jim Wheat

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valentines dayArtist Jim Wheat, and Terra Virtua, the digital collectables, virtual reality platform and gateway to the metaverse, have partnered to create a non-fungible token (NFT) love-inspired collection to mark Valentine’s Day. 

‘Love & Cherish’ is an original, fascinating and evocative Valentine’s NFT artwork series, based on the original 2016 screen-print, Love & Cherish. The collection is made up of twelve varied artworks, each with twelve numbered editions. Each variant in the edition is a collectable, one-of-a-kind NFT artwork with a unique combination of beautiful colours. The limited-edition digital collectables will be available to buy on the 14th of February from Terra Virtua.

Terra Virtua, CEO, Jawad Ashraf, commented, “Terra Virtua is excited to collaborate on Jim’s new collection and help to spread his unifying message. Each Love & Cherish variant is a collectable, one-of-a-kind NFT artwork with a unique combination of colours as well as common and rare attributes. Is there a better way to say Happy Valentine’s in 2022, than with a unique, limited-edition, everlasting Love & Cherish NFT?”

Romance fraud scams have doubled in the past year

The number of people targeted by romance fraud scams has nearly doubled in the last year, according to new data from email security company, Tessian.

The new research shows that 32 per cent of people in the UK and US have received a romance fraud scam in the last 12 months – a huge increase from the 18 per cent of people Tessian surveyed in February 2021. In the UK alone, 14 per cent of respondents said they had been targeted by romance scammers over the last 12 months, up from 8 per cent the year before.

James Alliband, senior manager at Tessian commented: “The sharp rise in romance fraud shows just how cybercriminals exploited people’s emotional needs during the pandemic and how they continue to do so as people look for love online.

“By adopting a fake identity or a ‘desirable’ persona online, cybercriminals will spin a story to trick and manipulate their victims into sharing money or information that could be used later to commit identity fraud. Typically, scammers won’t ask for this outright; they’ll build trust overtime to make the relationship seem genuine, before using an emotional hook to ask people for money. These are tried and tested social engineering tactics, designed to manipulate human emotions – and they sadly work on everyone.”

Badoo, Bumble and HER are the three most data-hungry dating apps in the world

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valentines dayA study conducted by cybersecurity company Surfshark revealed that dating apps collect an average of 13 data points, with 46% gathering more than this amount. Half of all apps collect sensitive information, ranging from racial to biometric data, while over 50% use data for third-party advertising. Surfshark’s data sensitivity index, which allocates points depending on the invasiveness, ranked widely used Badoo, Bumble, and HER as the most data-hungry dating apps on the market.

Surfshark’s study shows that two of the most popular dating apps on the planet Badoo and Bumble are also the two most data-hungry. Badoo, which comes in 1st place of the index, collects 23 out of 32 possible data points and uses part of it for third-party advertising. The second place is claimed by Bumble, which gathers a total of 22 data points, but tracks and shares fewer of them than its competitor. On average, dating apps have been found to collect 13 data points, yet 46% of analysed apps collect more than the average amount of data points.

“The reason why this extensive information collection is concerning is the fact that every second researched dating app uses data for third-party advertising,” comments Darius Belejevas, Chief Business Development Officer at Surfshark. “Once your data is passed over, there may not be regulations in place to prevent it from being resold or reused again. Some dating apps have even been subject to selling data illegally in the past. Such privacy violations are especially sensitive, as they can affect private relationships.”

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.